8 Ethical Weatherproof Boots to Keep Your Feet Warm and Dry

Mother and daughter (2-3) holding hands and walking on rainy day

 

Jamie Grill / Getty Images 

Get set for fall with these ethically-made weatherproof boots and shoes. Your feet will stay warm and dry, and your mind can rest assured that their production was not damaging to workers or the environment. High-quality footwear will last longer and serve you better over the years, so don’t skimp – particularly when it comes to cold-weather footwear.

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Aigle

credit: Altitude Sports -- Aigle Miss Juliette ankle boot

Aigle makes real rubber boots. The boots are handcrafted in more than 60 stages, using 100 percent natural rubber, rather than the synthetic materials most commonly found in waterproof boots nowadays. From Aigle’s website:

“Rubber boots are more robust and durable and have a high resistance to wear and tear and ripping, so you can pass them down through the generations. Products made from plastic, derived from petroleum, will not provide you with the same level of comfort nor the same amount of flexibility when walking and will become much more brittle over time.”

Aigle boots come in varying heights, styles, and colors, with options for men, women, and children. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can order online through retailers such as Altitude Sports and Zappos.

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Fortress of Inca

credit: Fortress of Inca -- Women's Delrey Charcoal Boot

This company features beautiful, high quality footwear that’s handmade in Peru and sold to independent retailers around the United States. (Lucky for you, their footwear is also available online.) The shoemakers are paid fair wages, receive health care, paid maternity leaves, and social security. The materials used are locally-sourced leather, rubber, and wood. In defense of leather, Fortress of Inca writes:

“The leather that we use is a byproduct of the meat industry that might otherwise be turned into organic waste and would be very harmful to the planet. We believe that it is our ethical and environmental duty to ensure that these animal hides are used in a sustainable manner as long as they continue to be produced.”

The boots pictured above are the women’s

. There are many other styles available on the website.

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Mamahuhu

credit: Mamahuhu -- Women's Nevaditas boots in cherry

These handmade beauties are called ‘Nevaditas’ and are designed for cool-weather use. They feature a well-worked, chromium-free leather exterior that’s both soft and resistant, an inner cotton lining for warmth, and a natural rubber outsole, all of which is entirely handmade. Mamahuhu, which is based in Colombia and employs only highly skilled artisans in its factory, has a lot to say about the benefits of handmade shoes, as opposed to mass-produced ones. Read more here.

“Every shoe has its own attributes, and deserves to be treated personally to make sure all parts fit perfectly together and all the details are attended carefully. The process of is like creating a piece of art. Only those that are handmade by experienced artisans can reach such level of perfection.”

You can

for both men and women. There is also a waterproof rain boot version. Free worldwide shipping over $110.

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Oliberté

credit: Oliberté -- Men's Gando pull-up boot in red and black

The world’s first fair-trade-certified shoe company, Oliberté calls itself a “sustainable lifestyle brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa.” All shoes are made in a factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Oliberté’s shoes come with excellent reviews from customers who are delighted with the product. One popular choice is the men’s Gando boot (pictured above), made from a combination of goat and cow leathers, a jagged natural outsole, and cotton wax laces. Reviewers say it’s incredibly comfortable, warm in cold weather, fairly waterproof, with solid traditional-style stitching. There are many other options for men and women. Shipping is efficient. You can order online.

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Vegetarian Shoes

credit: Vegetarian Shoes -- Snowdon Boots

This company from Brighton, England, manufactures an impressive range of vegan boots and shoes, many of which are waterproof and warm. The boots pictured above are called the “Snowdon,” a three-season hiking boot with a Vibram sole and padded ankle and collar, made in Italy. They look cozy enough to make you want to hit the hiking trail immediately! Water resistance (and scuffs) can be improved with use of a special black polish. Many of the styles are unisex, although you can find more gender-tailored options on the main website. If you live in the United States, the easiest way to purchase Vegetarian Shoes is through a U.S. supplier such as Moo Shoes.

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El Naturalista

credit: El Naturalista -- Yggdrasil boots in khaki

El Naturalista produces all of its shoes in Spain and Morocco, with careful attention to detail and a fully transparent supply list. The company sells a wide range of boots and shoes designed for outdoor wear, including a vegan line. The boot pictured above, called the Yggdrasil, is part of the vegan collection, made with a fake leather material called Delta and a recycled natural rubber outsole. It features a removable insole for people who want to use their own orthopedic insole or who sweat profusely and need to wash it. You can order online.

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Patagonia

credit: Patagonia - Ultralight wading boots

Patagonia sells wading boots that are top-notch. Waterproof, ultralight, and made of synthetic leather, these boots can be resoled as many times as you need – a highly attractive and rare feature these days. Patagonia is known for its commitment to the environment, outlined in its mission statement: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” You can order online.

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Beyond Skin

credit: Beyond Skin - Misty Camel Faux Sheepskin boots

A major vegan shoe company, Beyond Skin has some great options for cold weather footwear. One is the PETA-approved Camel Faux Sheepskin Boot (pictured above), made with a faux suede upper (that folds up or down, depending on how you want to wear it), a warm faux shearling lining, padded insoles, and flexible outsoles that are chunky with good grip for slippery conditions. You can order online. Free worldwide shipping.